Why use touch screens in digital signage implementations?

A few months ago, my family along with a friend’s family went to the Crocodile Bank on the ECR road near Chennai. We had three very curious children with us and as soon as we reached there, questions started flying from the children and while we were able to answer the very generic ones, we couldn’t do justice on the deeper ones.

That’s when one of the volunteers at the Crocodile Bank by name Arul, came to us and offered to take us through the facility. His ability to explain was so legendary that he brought to life all the crocodiles and snakes in the enclosure.  That personal attention helped us engage with the facility and spend more time there. I have become a fan of that place and I follow most of their activities since then.

What has this got to do with touch screens and digital signage? Well, digital signage is the crocodile bank and touch screens are the personal attention that we received from Arul. Touch screens bring interaction and thereby engagement into play, where the intended message reaches your audience.

The Why, How and Where of the touch screens…. 

Why…Touch screens allow users to have control over their experience of using digital signs. It turns their experience from passive to active, involving them in the process of choosing what content they want to see/read. The interaction and the personal attention leaves a deep imprint in the minds of the audience.

Touch screens typically were considered to be far too expensive compared to a normal digital signage screen. However, the costs are coming down consistently and it is available from mainstream vendors like NEC, LG and Samsung .

How…The digital signage implementation along with touch screens needs to deeply look at what the user will get from the interaction, how they will interact, and how do we get them to the display and get them to touch it. Make sure that it is intuitive and easy enough to use, faster to access and integrations are built-in efficiently, without which users would lose interest.

Focus on the content as interactive displays are far more complex than the non-interactive ones. It is one thing to respond to simple requests like ‘How do I reach Point B from Point A’ and another thing to play content based on user’s input or analytics or the demography of the user.

Where…Wayfinding, price look up, and search nearby attractions are the common applications of touch-based signs. Some of the candidates that would gain from touch-based digital signs in various verticals include:

  • Retail – product browsing, product selection, inventory visibility and price lookup
  • Transit – schedule look up, tickets availability, time delays, attractions on the way
  • Education – wayfinding, donor information, event results
  • Healthcare – wayfinding, donor information, medical procedures, FAQs
  • Corporate Communications – polices, events, processes and people
  • QSRs – automated orders, feedback

There are many more use cases where touch-based digital signs can be used like brand engagement, collecting donations for a cause and the likes. Overall, wherever you need engagement between the user and the message, it would make sense to go the touch-base digital sign way.

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